Meet Kenya's Chef Les

– News Article

Lesiamon Ole Sempele, aka chef Les, is a seasoned chef with eight years’ experience. He is also an advocate of healthy living coupled with a unique sense of fashion and an objective appreciation of social trends that may have an influence on his contemporary culinary inspirations, largely drawn from progressive cuisine choices from around the world.

Born and raised in the low-income neighbourhood of Bahati in Nairobi, Kenya, chef Les used the opportunity presented to him to build his craft starting his professional career at a small Italian eatery, where he honed his skills learning to cook classic Italian dishes under the tutelage of Faustina Trufelli (Pomodoro).

Later he joined Utalii College for a short course on cake-making after which he got admitted to Top Chefs Culinary Institute where he studied culinary arts, turning his passion for the love of cooking into his chosen profession.

In building his career, chef Les has worked in luxury kitchens such as Cin Cin, Lord Delamere Terrace & Tatu restaurants of Fairmont’s Norfolk hotel, The Tribe, Sankara, Celebrity Cruises and The Good Earth Group where he currently heads the kitchen of Nairobi’s sensational Nyama Mama restaurant as executive chef of the Delta branch. Using his passion, he has become a culinary advocate of Kenyan food culture, complementing this with warm local hospitality that still meets international best practice. He draws inspiration from Kenya’s food culture, combining a variety of cuisines from across the country, using his culinary inventions to remain cognisant of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and related choices.

His career has granted him the honour of cooking for many famous personalities and celebrities such as Ne-yo, 2 chainz, Akon, Chronixx, Ewan Mcgregor just to mention a few, the most memorable one being his culinary icon, the late Anthony Bourdain. He has appeared on several shows such as CNN Travel, K24’s Alfajiri breakfast show, KTN’s Life & Style, Citizen TV’s breakfast show as well as being featured in numerous publications like Daily Nation’s Take 5, Saturday Nation, Business Daily, Wired (Japan) and be-inspired (Japan).

Among his passions is a strong sense of community. Chef Les uses his craft to impact society in a better way by being involved in community outreach initiatives like Mama to the Rescue, that aims to feed the front liners and less fortunate members of the society during the Covid-19 pandemic that’s sweeping the globe. This has seen him dedicate his time to cooking for those who need nutrition most.

Although he spends most of his time at work, chef Les thoroughly enjoys spending time outdoors, being surrounded by nature. This is where he draws his inspiration from. He also enjoys spending time with his family and friends, occasionally treating them to some interesting culinary delights. He loves contemporary African art and music.

His other inspirations would be drawn from his love for travelling and exploring different destinations of the world, interacting with diverse cultures through sharing food and stories. He is motivated by chefs who continually explore culinary perfection while adding their own unique signature to their dishes. He too is on a daily quest to do the same.